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4 May, 20124 May, 2012 1 comments The Land of the Bible The Land of the Bible

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." (Mat 24:1-2)


During the excavations that took place in the Jewish Quarter after the Six Day War in 1967, archaeologists discovered the ruins of a house that had collapsed and been burnt by a fierce fire.


Welcome to Beit Katros - the home of an important family of priests who served in the Second Temple and are mentioned in the Talmud. Visitors to the restored ancient site are in for a unique experience: a gripping multimedia, sound and light show dramatically recreates the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple against the backdrop of the social strife and fraternal division that undermined the foundations of the Jewish nation.


The drama makes every visitor a part of the Katros family and of Jerusalem during those last tragic days of the city that Jesus knew and loved.


Entering the small museum, as one walks down towards the remains of the house, panels along the stairs bear sobering inscriptions from the Talmud and from the First Century Jewish historian Josephus Flavius attempting to explain the destruction of the city and its sanctuary:


"Why was Jerusalem destroyed

16 March, 201216 March, 2012 1 comments The Land of the Bible The Land of the Bible

Rediscovering the Holy Temple of Jerusalem

During Lent, one great way to gain new insights into Christ's life, passion, death and resurrection - and also into our own Christian liturgy - is to get to know the place that was at the center of Jesus' own spiritual life: the Temple. The Jerusalem Temple was the holy seat of the Divine Presence and the heart and soul of Judaism in Jesus' days. So it's no surprise that the Gospels present Jesus' life and ministry as revolving around the Temple:


Soon after He was born, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:27).


He taught in the Temple at age twelve (Lk 46) and then throughout his life (Mt 21:23; Mk 12:35; 14:49; Lk 19:47; 21:38; Jn 7:14; 8:2; 18:20); He also healed in the Temple (Mt 21:14).


He viewed the Temple as his "Father's House" and drove out the money changers from it out of concern for its sanctity (Mt 21:12; Mk 11:15; Lk 19:45; Jn 2:14).


Finally, Jesus said that He is Himself greater than the Temple (Mt 12:6) announcing that His own body would be a new Temple (Mt 26:61; Mk 14:58; Jn 2:19-21).


The Temple in the days of Jesus


There have been two Temples in the history of Israel: The first was built

19 February, 201219 February, 2012 1 comments The Land of the Bible The Land of the Bible

What did Jerusalem look like in Jesus' days? For most of Christian history, this question remained shrouded in mystery.


When the Temple and city were destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the ruins remained buried for nearly two millennia - even after the Jewish People began to return to the Land of Israel at the end of the nineteenth century. During the war of Independence (1948), the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was largely destroyed by the Jordanians and it remained off limits to Jews for 19 years, until Israel retook the Old City during the Six Day War (1967).


After the Six Day War, during the renovation of the Jewish Quarter (1967-82), the ancient site was uncovered, revealing spectacular finds: a luxurious Second Temple period residential quarter in the Upper City of Jerusalem. Because of its grandeur and opulence, it was renamed the Herodian Quarter, also known today as the Wohl Museum of Archeology.


In the days when Jesus came up to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Jewish festivals, the wealthy aristocratic and priestly families lived in the magnificent houses of the Herodian Quarter. It is easy to see why this area, built on a hillside overlooking the nearby Temple Mount, would have been particularly attractive to priests who ministered in the Temple every day.


Today, this is the largest and most important site from Second Temple times that can still be seen in Jer

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A blog on Catholic life in Jerusalem by Ariel Ben Ami of Catholics for Israel (www.catholicsforisrael.com)


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